Being diagnosed with depression can be both emotionally and practically challenging. Listening to others who have experienced similar situations is often re-assuring and can be helpful for you, your loved ones or when preparing questions for your doctor or a specialist.
Debra is a mother of two children and shares a home with her current partner while the kids live with their father. Debra has experienced anxiety and panic attacks for 22 years and was diagnosed with depression nine years ago. She uses a combination of medication and different therapy techniques to deal with her depression.
This interview has been sourced from Healthtalk Australia. Healthtalk Australia is the Australian collaborator of healthtalk.org (UK) which conducts award-winning research into patient experiences in conjunction with the Health Experience Research Group at the University of Oxford, UK.
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Debra described her depression as a very emotional experience, but over the years she learned how to deal with it.
To, for depression it's emotion. It's very emotional, very teary, very very down, very there's not light at the end of the tunnel. Very I can't cope with doing things, I'm going to burst into tears. I can't think about certain things because they're going to make me very sad. Also on the other side too it can make me very irritable as well in a sense that if I'm feeling down and somebody says some, something to me that I don't like or anything I will react differently to how I normally would react. You know I probably, you know I'll be more snappier or I'd start crying or, or something like that.
And I had that last week because I take, put the Kalma up to one milligram and so I felt like an absolute failure that I wasn't able to cope with half a milligram of Kalma. And just felt very down and very, very tearful and very emotional about the fact that I wasn't able to reach that goal, wasn’t able to hit that expectation. So then I refer back to what we call my toolbox, which, you know, is, is full of all sorts of psychotherapy and, and medication as well. And so I try to put that psychotherapy tools into use and today's not so bad.
Debra felt judged because of her depression and that she was seen as a ‘bad’ mother.
The main thing was the fact that the kids went to their father that was the, the big, big factor and people judging me for that as well, you know. And when I did the rehabilitation course back into the workforce for people with mental illnesses I even had people judging me doing that. Why is she doing that? You know, she's, why is she doing that? She gave her kids up, you know, her kids went to their father. Why is she doing that?
And it was like, well hang on a minute. Okay, maybe I had to do that but I've done it for the kids' own good. It hasn't been an easy decision and I live with it every day of my life and it hurts me every day of my life. But I've kept in contact with them, I support them financially. I support them as a mother, even though he moved them three and a half hours away. So there's another nasty little thing there. But I've been in their lives, you know, since that's happened. But people didn't think I deserved to have a life because I've done that.
Because I, my kids had to go and, and, you know, live with their dad. So a lot of judgement there as well with mental illness. A lot of judgement around the depression. A lot of people can identify with anxiety and high anxiety and stress I guess. But a lot of people can't identify with you're that depressed that you feel like you're sinking to the bottom of a black pit and you will not find your way back up again, you know. But it's, that's, yeah.
Source: Experiences of depression and recovery in Australia, 40-49 Debra
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Last reviewed: September 2013